Emerging Church/New Spirituality: Part 4 (Defining the New Spirituality)

The New Spirituality

In order to set the liberal edge of the Emerging Church in its wider context we need to look at the so-called 'New Spirituality.'  Many within the liberal Emerging Church prefer to be known either as the 'Emergent Conversation' or the 'New Spirituality.'  Whilst we'd agree that a new kind of spirituality is emerging in the earth, we believe it would be more than a little presumptuous of the liberal Emerging Church to claim that label solely for itself.

More and more people say:

I’m not religious, but I am spiritual.

According to Dr Peter Jones, in his book ’One or Two,’ Western culture has been hijacked by a spiritual ideology that he calls Neo-Paganism (new-paganism) or as we might say New Spirituality.

Whilst horoscopes, fortune-tellers, Halloween and Harry Potter are the closest most people get to paganism, John Frame in the foreword to the book ‘On Global Wizardry,’ reminds us of a sobering truth:

Few realise that this new paganism is an historical and worldwide movement of enormous cultural power, one that has sought for centuries, and still seeks, to dominate our world.

In essence, the New Spirituality is a reappearance and networking of ancient forms of spirituality, including many aspects of the following:

The mystery religions; esoteric (hidden and mysterious); the occult (hidden); religious paganism (local religions); pre-Christian goddess worship; shamanism (ways of communicating with the spirit world); animism (non-living objects have a life force); witchcraft; Eastern mysticism (Buddhism, Hinduism, yoga and so on); ancient Gnosticism (secret knowledge); Desert Fathers; Catholic mysticism; New Age practices; religious syncretism (merging of religious practices); secret societies and inter-spirituality (interfaith).

The New Spirituality movement is an alignment of all that’s opposed to the will of God.  It is vehemently opposed to the Christian faith.  Frame, also remarks in the foreword to the book ‘On Global Wizardry’:

These movements are parallel to one another, even congruent.  So they form a single movement in effect.  They work together, drawing on one another for support and inspiration, affirming one another, while they unite in opposing biblical Christianity.  The resulting movement is, then, a work of Satan seeking to confront Christianity head-on.  Whilst this paganism is imprecise it is in effect the sum of every unrelated non-Christian religion.

According to Dr Peter Jones in his book ‘Spirit Wars’:

It is vitally important to see beyond the external diversity and subtle distinctions to the inner coherence of paganism which is known as Monism.

This mixture of beliefs and practices, it should be said, not only impacts the liberal Emerging Church, but every sphere of society - government, education, health-care, media, business, ecology, religion, law-making, globalisation, interfaith religion, psychology, sociology, science, arts, entertainment, sports etc. Western society generally is rejecting Judaeo-Christian values and worldview.

Just as secular humanism has questioned the presuppositions of orthodox evangelical Christianity so does neo-paganism.  Some would argue that neo-paganism has largely replaced secular humanism as the dominant ideology of our time.  In any event Judaeo-Christian values are caught in a pincer movement and increasingly excluded from the public square.

The pursuit of a coherent worldview to save the planet

Whilst Postmodernism generally shuns meta-narratives (overarching worldviews), intellectual neo-pagans, mystics, New Agers and emergents eagerly pursue a coherent worldview to save the planet.  Dr Peter Jones in his book ‘One or Two’ says:

Thousands of progressives in academics, the media and politics, along with liberal church leaders are joining to produce a pagan cosmology to repair our deconstructed world.

Religious evolution, they claim, is coming of age.  Whilst the liberal Emerging Church, the resurgence of ancient forms of mystical spirituality, religious paganism and the shift from Modernism to Postmodernism can, in one sense, said to be distinct and separate entities which have enjoyed parallel developmental paths for a number of years (decades in fact), there has nevertheless been a great deal of cross fertilisation and a merging of ideas and practices between them.

No one speaks for the New Spirituality movement as a whole and no one speaks for anyone else within the movement.  It can mean many things to the many different groups within it and there’s no headquarters you can call up to request information.  For more on the history and development of the New Spirituality see Part 6 of this series.

New Spirituality: Neo-Paganism

There are a number of core beliefs in the New Spirituality, which the Postmodern worldview supports:

*    It’s anti-Christian
*    It’s mystical; experience is everything, just as with Postmodernism
*    It believes that each of the world’s religious traditions shares a single universal truth.  It believes that the divine has manifested itself through many deities in different places and at different times.  So no one deity can express the totality of the divine
*    It holds to the view that all religions are attempts by the Occult Brotherhood to help humanity in evolving to greater perfection
*    It aims to create a spirituality that is inclusive and pluralistic (all religions are valid)
*    It draws on both Eastern and Western mystical, spiritual and supernatural traditions and infuses them with influences from self help, motivational psychology and holistic health – Reiki healing (occult or ghost energy), yoga (based on the Chakra system drawing on Kundalini or Serpent Power).  For more on Mysticism see Part 5 of this series.
*    It is both Pantheistic and Panentheistic - the divine is present in nature and in each one of us.  The divine is everywhere and in everyone.  Indeed, everything and everyone is divine
*    The divine is both male and female - the god and goddess, although the divine is beyond limitations of gender
*    The Pagan Ethic (also called the Wiccan Rede) is followed: ‘If it harm none, do what you will.’  This means a pagan cannot cause harm to anyone or anything, including themselves or nature.  Other than that they’re free to do anything

The change to the Postmodern worldview presented the New Age pagans with a wonderful opportunity and indeed, many of them helped to develop it!

Spiritual darkness is increasing and becoming more sophisticated and the strongholds that the enemy is using are deeply rooted in the actions of past generations.  As Christians we do not fully understand the spiritual dimension as well as we need to.  George Otis Jnr in his book ‘The Twilight Labyrinth,’ says:

Strongholds are born whenever individuals, societies and cultures welcome evil powers into their midst . . . The enemy gains dominion over human systems - political, economic and religious . . .Despite the countervailing influence of Judaeo-Christian values, dark powers have managed to secure a foothold in Europe and America.

In just one generation, Judaeo-Christian Western culture has become an incubator of revived paganism.  Dr Peter Jones in his book ‘One or Two,’ says:

Neo-pagans are the darling of a variety of movements.  They lead the way in the ‘green’ movement, in systems of wealth distribution, in planetary programmes for social justice, in solutions to supposedly man-made global warming, in interfaith conferences, in the normalisation of all sexual expressions and in the promotion of globalist theories through the United Nations (UN).

The New Spirituality is changing the spiritual landscape of the Western world and society is being conditioned to accept this false spirituality that rejects the Gospel.  Dr Peter Jones in his book ‘Spirit Wars,’ says:

This revolution penetrates every home and soul, redefining sexuality, spirituality, God, religion and revelation.  The new world order turns everything we have known on its head - good becomes evil, homosexuality the preferred sexual expression and the traditional family a minority structure.

Today, a programme of mystical spirituality, social justice, interfaith and world peace is proposed as the answer to all man’s ills.  Many with immense power and wealth, empowered by the New Spirituality, believe that an earthly, planetary Utopia is just around the corner.

Involvement of the liberal Emerging Church

So why would the liberal Emerging Church want to be identified with the New Spirituality?  And why would the New Spirituality be ready to accept the liberal Emerging Church within its fold, bearing in mind it’s opposed to biblical Christianity?

By now it should be fairly obvious: the liberal Emerging Church, on which we’re focussing in this series of articles, has bought into the Postmodern way of relating to the world.  Because it’s also willing to compromise and change the Gospel - both its message and practice – to suit the Postmodern culture, it finds a warm welcome at the emerging New Spirituality’s ‘conversation.’

Whilst the liberal Emerging Church likes to think of itself as a key spiritual player in the New Spirituality, in reality it’s only a small fish in a large pagan pond.  The New Spirituality is an ideology, incidentally, which is set on becoming a global religion embracing all religions and none, under the Antichrist.  Make no mistake - every religion and ideology will serve Lucifer at the end of the age.  The goal of the emerging New Spirituality fits perfectly with biblical prophecy:

Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, ‘Who is like the beast?  Who can make war against him?’ . . . He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name . . . All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast - all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world (Rev 13:4-8 part).

Jesus warns us in Mathew's Gospel that many false prophets will rise and lead many astray at the end of the age:

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matt 24:10-14).

Whilst the liberal Emerging Church prides itself on its pioneering spirit, in reality, the truth is that it has simply swallowed the enemy’s deception.  It has left the one true church and embraced a new humanistic and pagan agenda.  They have exchanged the truth for a lie.  Alice Bailey’s final point has been realised.

By way of an example, Brian McLaren is associated with futuristic groups that worship the earth and reject its Creator.  He was a featured speaker at the Walter H. Capps Centre, a group devoted to the challenges of pluralism.

Other featured speakers included: Elaine Pagels (a Gnostic); Mary Tucker (a Buddhist); Starhawk (a witch); Peter Russell (a New Age guru); and Diana Eck (lesbian Professor of Religion at Harvard).  When given the opportunity to share the Gospel this is what he said:

i    The Church’s difficulties are self-imposed; we have the gospel all wrong and need to modify it
ii   We should avoid mentioning sin, the cross or personal salvation, since these terms don’t sit well today
iii  Christians should drop their concern with personal survival in the afterlife, to focus on helping the poor and saving the environment

Whilst the liberal Emerging Church presents the biggest challenge to biblical evangelical Christianity for decades, and we shouldn’t underestimate the harm it can do, nevertheless it reflects a somewhat pathetic image if you compare it to the vibrant Church of Jesus Christ which down through the ages has and will continue to robustly defend the truth of the Gospel – refusing to embrace the ideas and practices of either Postmodernism or the New Spirituality.

Go to Part 5 of this series for more on Mysticism . . .

According to Dr Peter Jones, in his book ’One or Two,’ Western culture has been hijacked by a spiritual ideology that he calls Neo-Paganism (new-paganism) or as we would say New Spirituality

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